The Garrison Institute is located in a beautifully renovated former Capuchin Monestery, of over 7000 square metres, surrounded by forests and fields.
This summer, from 8 to 13 August, I had the privilege of being at the Garrison Institute, NY, for their 7th Annual retreat on Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) for Teachers.
The Garrison Institute is a not-for-profit, non-sectarian organization siutated on the banks of the Hudson river, an hour north of New York City. Its focus is on using contemplative practices to support social and ecological change.
CARE for Teachers is an innovative and well-researched programme that directly enhances teacher well-being and indirectly that of their students.
CARE for Teachers was developed by a team of researchers and professionals working in education and contemplative practices, including mindfulness-based approaches. The 5-day retreat included daily meditation and other mindfulness practices and explicit teaching of key prinicipals. The goals were to develop skills to manage the demands of teaching, enhance the joy of teaching and student-teacher relationships and prevent burn-out.
On some days, the retreat began with an early morning meditation at a nearby waterfall. There was the option to swim in the waters as a refreshing way to begin the day.
The course included consideration of the resources required to develop emotional awareness. This included respecting emotions and being able to recognise and label them. It also involved improving how we regulate emotions and respond to complex and challenging situations. Overall, greater awareness, presence and compassion were developed for use in complex and demanding work contexts, which for most of us, included classrooms. For more information see the CARE for Teachers website.